Crosslinking strategies for the microfluidic production of microgels
journal contributionposted on 21.06.2021, 13:38 by Minjun ChenMinjun Chen, Guido BolognesiGuido Bolognesi, Goran VladisavljevicGoran Vladisavljevic
This article provides a systematic review of the crosslinking strategies used to produce microgel particles in microfluidic chips. Various ionic crosslinking methods for the gelation of charged polymers are discussed, including external gelation via crosslinkers dissolved or dispersed in the oil phase; internal gelation methods using crosslinkers added to the dispersed phase in their non-active forms, such as chelating agents, photo-acid generators, sparingly soluble or slowly hydrolyzing compounds, and methods involving competitive ligand exchange; rapid mixing of polymer and crosslinking streams; and merging polymer and crosslinker droplets. Covalent crosslinking methods using enzymatic oxidation of modified biopolymers, photo-polymerization of crosslinkable monomers or polymers, and thiol-ene “click” reactions are also discussed, as well as methods based on the sol−gel transitions of stimuli responsive polymers triggered by pH or temperature change. In addition to homogeneous microgel particles, the production of structurally heterogeneous particles such as composite hydrogel particles entrapping droplet interface bilayers, core−shell particles, organoids, and Janus particles are also discussed. Microfluidics offers the ability to precisely tune the chemical composition, size, shape, surface morphology, and internal structure of microgels by bringing multiple fluid streams in contact in a highly controlled fashion using versatile channel geometries and flow configurations, and allowing for controlled crosslinking.
- Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering
- Chemical Engineering